Thanksgiving 2009 brings about the third annual "Smith Family Mashed Potato Mile." This grueling race forces my family to overcome the forces of laziness, gluttony, and of course…early morning! Before I can go into detail about the "SFMPM," I need to give everyone a brief overview of my family. Nana and Papa, my grandparents on my mom’s side (and also my current roommates!), have six children: Barb, Ellen, Janet, David, Carol, and Mary. The six children gave Nana and Papa a total of 19 grandkids. So every Thanksgiving, all of us (plus some "adopted" family members) usually number somewhere around 30. Needless to say, it’s a big group.
Looking to spice up a boring holiday (sounds like a certain airline, huh?), the grandkids decided to come up with a fun activity that everyone could participate in. We originally tried the Turkey Trot here in Dallas, but that didn’t work out. The cold weather, early start time, and ridiculously long distance (5K) just didn’t cut it for our family. We needed an event that allowed cheating, beating, and of course, LOTS of eating. So in 2007, the “Smith Family Mashed Potato Mile” was born.
The “SFMPM” starts at the crack of dawn (10:00am), so that everyone can participate–even us late-risers. The only three rules are: everyone must wear their official “SFMPM” race shirt, everyone must have a snack during the race, and cheating is tolerated. When the horn sounds, the racers push, shove, elbow, and claw their way from the starting line at a blistering pace of 1/4 mile an hour. As we chat, eat, and cause a royal ruckus, we slowly make our way around the neighborhood on our 1/4 to 1/2 mile track. The race usually features at least one stop for a wrestling match, one stop for a rest and relaxation "veg," multiple stops to argue about the distance and route, and of course…the heart-pounding finish!
Some highlights from years past include: in 2007 Uncle Will, after unveiling his "race spandex" racing ahead of the pack, only to have us all get tired and deviate from the route to turn back early. He got last place that year. In 2008 we had a photo finish–literally. My Dad appeared to finish first, but after further review, it was determined that a picture of cousin Michelle, who couldn’t make it to the race, actually crossed the line before him. It was taped to the front of his scooter.
So there is no telling what the 2009 "SFMPM" will bring. Word on the street is that we will have sponsors this year, with all money being donated to Nana and Papa’s favorite charity. If your family is looking for a good time this Thanksgiving, I challenge you to form your own grueling race. All it takes is a willingness to be lazy, a desire to eat on the go, and a willingness to come together as a family to do something special.